Standardizing Performance Metrics for Building-Level Electrical Distribution Systems

Moazzam Nazir, Omkar Ghatpande, Willy Bernal Heredia, Cameron Wierzbanowski, Daniel Gerber, Avijit Saha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus Citations


Building-level electrical distribution systems comprise a myriad of current-carrying equip-ment, conversion devices, and protection devices that deliver power from the utility or local distributed energy resources to end-use building loads. Electric power has traditionally been generated, transmitted, and distributed in alternating current (AC). However, the last decade has seen a sig-nificant increase in the integration of native direct current (DC) equipment that has elevated the importance of DC distribution systems. Numerous studies have comparatively examined the performance of various electrical distribution systems in buildings but have failed to achieve uniform conclusions, primarily because of a lack of consistent and analogous performance evaluation methods. This paper aims to fill this gap by providing a standard set of metrics and measurement boundaries to consistently evaluate the performance of AC, DC, or hybrid AC/DC electrical distribution systems. The efficacy of the proposed approach is evaluated on a representative medium-sized commercial office building model with AC distribution and an equivalent hybrid AC/DC and DC distribution model, wherein the AC distribution model is concluded to be the most efficient. The simulation results show variation in computed metrics with different selected boundaries that verify the effectiveness of the proposed approach in ensuring consistent computation of the performance of building-level electrical distribution systems. This paper provides an initial set of guidelines for building energy system stakeholders to adopt appropriate solutions, thus leading to more efficient energy systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number136
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-80312


  • AC and DC electrical power distribution
  • Buildings
  • Energy efficiency
  • Metrics
  • Standardization


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